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First Milk annual results show solid trading performance


First Milk has today published its annual results for the year ending 31 March 2017, which show solid trading performance from a transformed business, delivering a net profit for the period of £6.0m.

The financial highlights were:
Operating profit (before exceptional items) was £11.7m (2016: £6.0m)
Net profit for the year was £6.0m (2016: loss £5.1m)
Group turnover was £206.5m (2016: £294.2m)
Net bank borrowings increased to £37.6m (2016: £32.1m)
Capital investment of £3.8m across all our sites in the year (2016: £4.8m)
Total group capital and reserves increased to £22.0m (2016: £17.4m)
9ppl average increase in member milk price (including payment of 2ppl Business Performance Supplement)

Key operational highlights include:
Debt re-financing completed on new 4-year facility with Wells Fargo, providing flexibility and lower costs
New long-term contract for fresh milk supply to Nestlé UK and Ireland
Awarded Nestlé Supplier of the Year and Best Quality Award
Agreement of long-term cheese supply partnership with Tesco and Ornua Foods
Dr Sean Rickard appointed as Independent Chairman of Member Council
Sale of loss-making CNP sports nutrition business in December 2016
New CEO, Shelagh Hancock, appointed from April 1, 2017

First Milk Chairman, Clive Sharpe, commented:

"Over the last two years, First Milk has transformed. We have put in place a new business strategy, divested loss-making subsidiaries, improved our operational performance and implemented an effective co-operative governance structure.

"The transformation of our business is complete and, as a result, First Milk today is now a more focused and financially secure business. This is demonstrated through these significantly improved financial results and, most importantly, through our ability to increase milk prices to our farmer members ahead of the market during the last financial year. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff of First Milk, my fellow Board directors and, above all, our members for their hard work and commitment during the last year."

Chief Executive, Shelagh Hancock, who joined the business in late March, added:

"It is clear that, following the transformation process that was completed before I joined, we have a focused and financially stable foundation to build from. So now we must look to the future. Working as one team, we will continue our relentless focus on efficiency and quality. We will put customers at the heart of our business, creating value through strong, long-term partnerships and exploit the advantages we have to grow the business. The combination of these efforts is to deliver competitive total returns to our members.

"I strongly believe that First Milk has got a bright future. I am confident that we can build on our solid relationships to create a strong and vibrant business capable of delivering competitive returns and providing opportunities that enable our members to grow and prosper."